Sharing cell nbr in case of emergency

We are establishing emergency procedures, and have asked all supervisors to add their cell phone numbers to the Staff Directory, so that their direct reports and their own supervisors/managers can reach them in case of an emergency (to communicate about safety, whether to come to the office or not, etc).  I've had one supervisor respond by saying: "Is this a company rule?  I disagree with it on principle.  If my employer wants me to be reachable at all times, then my employer needs to supply me with that capability (i.e. a business cell phone) not requiring me to give out my personal number to everyone on staff worldwide."

I'm looking for your thoughts about his note, and comments on how you would deal with this.


Terri Pinder

HR Manager


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I agree with your employee and would say the same thing.  In fact, I did and refused to give out my personal cell number.  The company purchased a cheap or free flip phone and a small plan tacked on to the rest of the plans they already carry.  I do not get many calls after hours but when I do my personal privacy is safeguarded.  When I leave this company I will retain my personal privacy.  Our situation is different from what you are describing.  They wanted to give out my number so that I would be available 24/7 which was the corporate culture at the time.  The culture has improved and the COO has "decreed" that there will be no calling on weekends or after 8 pm during the week.

     PS-I am a huge fan and supporter of your ministry!  Keep it up.  [:D]

  • This is always a tough situtation. On one hand the business doesn't want the unnecessary expense of cell phones for the off chance that an emergency happens but on the other hand the supervisors/managers want to maintain privacy.  If your policy is that employees need to call their manager before the start of the workday if they are not coming in and also during an emergency then it makes sense for the company to provide these individuals with cell phones. 

    When I worked in a manufacturing environment we had a policy that stated you must call in to the supervisor prior to the start of the shift.  For us it wasn't a big deal because we ran 24 hours a day so there was always a supervisor on duty that the employee could call.  In other environments it is difficult and if you have this type of policy then the person must call some other number for the supervisor (home or cell).

    If this is your policy then I would get them a cell phone.  Or maybe you could have everyone call in to a duty person (which could rotate) and you could get one duty cell phone, which would rotate to the person on duty.  That way you would only have to get one cell phone. 

  • A lot depends on the culture of the company. Strictly speaking, the Company cannot demand of its management team that they hand over their private mobile numbers to their subordinates.  The nightmare possibilities of abuse from the irritating to the criminal are astounding.
  • Fortunately, I work for a company who provided me a Nextel (with phone capabilities).  They give out the phones to those who are considered in need of one (supervisors, foremen, project managers, etc.).  If all else fails, go buy a Trac-Fone or get with T-Mobile for their super cheap prepaid plans.  I've done it with a previous job and got reimbursement for minutes used for business-related calls.  I'm not sure how your company would fly with this, but on the bright side, the phone can be destroyed and thrown away (great way to take out frustrations) if you resign, retire, or are terminated.

  • I agree with the employee. If it is a requirement to be available after normal work hours, then the company should provide the means to make that happen or the company should reimburse the employee...that could run into another can of worms.
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